Theresa May: Social housing tenants are not 'second-rate citizens'

Posted On: 
18th September 2018

Theresa May will insist social housing tenants are not "second-rate citizens" as she announces £2bn to build a generation of new homes.

Theresa May will call on housing associations to build more homes.
PA Images

The Prime Minister will announce that the cash is being made available for housing associations to build as well as manage tens of thousands of properties.

Addressing the National Housing Federation Summit, Mrs May will urge them to use their "unique status, rich history and social mission" to change the way such housing is viewed by the general public.

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"For many people, a certain stigma still clings to social housing," she will say. "Some residents feel marginalised and overlooked, and are ashamed to share the fact that their home belongs to a housing association or local authority.

"And on the outside, many people in society – including too many politicians – continue to look down on social housing and, by extension, the people who call it their home."

The new cash will become available from 2022, and is in addition to the £9bn affordable homes programme and the £2bn Mrs May announced for affordable housing at last year's Tory conference.

However, Downing Street was unable to say how the promise will be funded.

The Prime Minister will add: "We should never see social housing as something that need simply be 'good enough', nor think that the people who live in it should be grateful for their safety net and expect no better.

"Whether it is owned and managed by local authorities, TMOs or housing associations, I want to see social housing that is so good people are proud to call it their home… Our friends and neighbours who live in social housing are not second-rate citizens."

Mrs May will say the Government funding being made available will let housing associations plan up to a decade in advance.

"I’m asking housing associations to use the tools we have given you," the Prime Minister will say. "Not just to build more homes, though of course more homes are needed. But to take the lead in transforming the very way in which we think about and deliver housing in this country.

"Rather than simply acquiring a proportion of the properties commercial developers build, I want to see housing associations taking on and leading major developments themselves. Because creating the kind of large-scale, high-quality developments this country needs requires a special kind of leadership – leadership you are uniquely well-placed to provide."

But Labour accused the Prime Minister of failing to do enough to tackle the country's housing crisis.

Shadow Housing Secretary John Healey said: "Theresa May’s promises fall far short of what’s needed.

"The reality is spending on new affordable homes has been slashed so the number of new social rented homes built last year fell to the lowest level since records began.

"If Conservative Ministers are serious about fixing the housing crisis they should back Labour’s plans to build a million genuinely affordable homes, including the biggest council housebuilding programme for over 30 years.”